(Forthcoming) Special Issue: India and Jugaad: the impact of innovation by the resilient Indian mind on habitat. 2020, Vol. 80, Issue No.2


2020 marks the year of a global pandemic that has threatened our entire world. In these times when systemic solutions have failed, the present special issue of Ekistics and the New Habitat, ‘India & Jugaad - The impact of innovation by the resilient Indian mind on habitat’ is of particular relevance. Jugaad refers to a distinctly Indian form of resourcefulness and ingenuity which provides solutions to the problems of centralised systems. 

Until one lives in India and experiences the country fully immersed in its wonder, culture, generosity and poverty, it is difficult to understand the complexity of the Indian mind, whose ideas allow over a billion people to live together as a part of a democratic nation. With the burgeoning growth of the population, there is an urgent need to examine how highly technological solutions are combined with those based on simpler but equally innovative methodologies. These hi-tech and down-to-earth approaches need to be explored and defined to understand their impact on the future of urban and rural habitats in India.

Historically, dramatic urban changes have been led by crises. The current Special Issue brings together eight critical essays which have undergone a thorough evaluation process. They address different planning and design issues employing varied research methodologies and case studies, ranging from sections of Indian metropolises to some historic sites. This methodological diversity enables our contributors to explore issues relating to the relevance of ancient urban and rural habitats in the modern context; sustainability; urban development and inclusion.

Rahul Srivastava and Matias Echanove’s (2020) essay recognizes the efforts of the majority of the citizens of India. It focuses on the actual users who, challenged with paucity but armed with ingenuity, innovate to make a change in their habitats. Sanjay Prakash and Swati Sharma’s (2020) essay then considers the ways in which new developments are being carried out in old cities. It provides insight into the ad hoc nature of some developments juxtaposed with others that follow new norms.  The existing fabric of society is presented in this context of formal and informal design processes to demonstrate that people’s participation is key to the success of sustainable urban renewal.

Sameep Padora’s (2020) essay shifts our focus to the role that traditional forms can play in solving modern urban problems. Specifically, it explores how the study of traditional forms can be used to develop a new and scalable system of housing. Padora makes the case that these age old, time tested systems can be modified to serve as the basis for new housing policies. In a similar vein, Shikha Jain (2020) illustrates that respecting local traditional systems can potentially resolve complex urban problems. Her esssay highlights the importance of Indian cities as models of settlements which have been inhabited and renewed for several centuries. Poonam Verma - Mascarenhas (2020) extends this argument. By examining the revival of traditional building technologies in a historic centre, her essay explores the relevance of traditional techniques and their inherent wisdom in the context of contemporary urban habitats.

Turning to sustsinability, Ganesh Nayak’s (2020) sensitive essay expands our definition of the term to include both inclusivity in the built environment as well as equity in the design of our collective spaces. Durganand Balsaver (2020), then explores these issues in the context of reconstruction following a natural disaster. His essay illustrates the necessity of the community process, and the active role of women in particular, for the creation of a more meaningful, participative form of redevelopment.

Finally, Prof. Neema Kudva (2020), drawing from everyday examples, concludes the present special issue by exploring how Jugaad is prevalent in our quotidian lives. Her discussion, as a strong counterpoint, makes a clear distinction between systemic innovation and make-shift practices. Whilst highlighting the need for our ongoing resilence and initiative, her essay advocates for an approach that would ultimately take us beyond current conceptions of Jugaad. 

Ekistics and the New Habitat

Special Issue: India and Jugaad: the Impact of Innovation by the Resilient Indian Mind on Habitat.

Guest Editor: Prof Brinda Somaya

                        Somaya and Kalappa Consultants (SNK)

                       Architecture & Planning Mumbai, Maharashtra



           Editorial: Brinda Somaya



1. The Design comes as we Build

           Rahul Srivastava and Matias Echanove

           Urbz, Mumbai


2. Beyond the Binary: What does it take to tread the ‘Third Way’ of Urban Regeneration in India?

           Sanjay Prakash and Swati Sharma

           Shift Studio, New Delhi

           sp@sanjayprakash.co.in, spa@sanjayprakash.co.in, Swati.Sharma@futureinstitute.in

3. In the name of Housing

           Sameep Padora

           sP+a Architects, Mumbai


4. Cultural Jugaad in Historic City Transformations: India

           Shikha Jain

           DRONAH, New Delhi


5. Water Culture Connect

           Poonam Verma Mascarenhas

           Archinova_Environ, Goa


6. Accessibility in urban spaces: The Potential and Limits of Jugaad

           Ganesh Nayak

           Metier, Inc., Georgia, U.S.A.


7. A People’s Process: Post Tsunami Self-Build housing in Tamil Nadu (2005-08)

           Durganand Balsavar

           Architect, Chennai, India


8. Against Jugaad

            Prof. Neema Kudva, Co-authors: Deepa Kamath, Amplify Digital

            Cornell AAP, Ithaca, USA


Book Review by Madhavi Desai

            Brinda Somaya - Works & Continuities: An Architectural Monograph

            Curated by: Ruturaj Parikh

            Edited by: Nandini Somaya Sampat

            Publisher: Mapin Publishing, in association with The HECAR Foundation